Zest for Life

Sushma was feeling confident as she walked in the office. She had nothing to lose and this was a chance she didn’t want to miss. By noon, she came out of the office with an offer letter clutched in her hand and a zeal for life. She reflected at the time in life when she had been depressed, realizing now just how wrong she had been.

Sushma had been a dedicated housewife for the past 30 years and she had been happy doing that. However once the children went off to study and she was left with the proverbial empty nest, a gloom took​ over. She felt like she was useless and her life had been non consequential. Her life seemed to be spiraling downwards.

One day she was asked for help in translation by her daughter. It was a small piece to be translated from Hindi to Marathi and she did a great job with it. Sushma was an army daughter and she had travelled extensively across India. She had been a zesty girl and loved to know more about the culture of the place. She also had a knack for languages. She had picked up 4 languages apart from Hindi and English. As she translated the piece for her daughter she rediscovered her love for languages.

Today, she had won a contract for translation of disaster management booklet, a project that would touch thousands of life. She had also discovered a zest for life.

Youthful – Age is just a number

Amar was up before dawn

Setting his tripod and waiting with bathed breath

He wished to shoot the valley as the first rays of sun kissed them

By the time, he was half way through setting up his equipment,

His frequently irregular apprentice hobbled in, blabbering excuses

Amar gestured the apprentice to be quiet and continued his work

He seemed to be in a meditative state focusing all his energy on his current work

As the first rays emerged, he was ready, clicking away his masterpiece.

Once the shoot was over and the team packed up

Amar went over to apprentice, informing him that he was no longer needed

The apprentice begged and pleaded for him to continue, explaining that he had been sleep deprived

But Amar was in no mood to listen; he simply informed his decision and walked off to his car

As is the case with any emotionally charged outburst, the apprentice started accusing Amar of being senile and non accommodative 

That’s when an old hand at Amar’s studio took the apprentice aside and calmed him down

He simply explained “A master artist isn’t born; it takes years of discipline, dedication to the craft and continuous learning.

This 60 year old award winning photographer is always updated about the latest trends in his craft and has dedicated his life to it.

He is up anytime to shoot his beloved pictures, while managing the many personal and social engagements. Learn and imbibe rather than finding excuses.

Don’t accuse him for your lack of dedication and energy; he at 60 is more youthful than three 20 something’s like you put together.”

Xenial – A hospitable stranger

There was a heat wave across the country. It was sweltering everywhere and the only safe haven was air conditioned offices and stores. Veena was standing on the road, waiting to cross. It was lunch time and she had to go to a close by eatery to buy her lunch. As she waited for the vehicles to recede a small girl around 5 came to her begging for some money. The heat was so annoying that Veena just waved her hand, asking the girl to go on. She saw traffic thinning and without a second thought she quickly crossed the road.

Just as she started walking under the canopy of trees and into the eatery, she realized what had just happened. She just couldn’t bring herself to eat, thinking about that girl alone on the road in this smoldering sun. She also realized there must be many such children on the road. Veena got up and went back. She asked the girl if she had eaten anything, as the girl nodded in negative, she took the girl with her to the eatery. She asked the girl to sit down and ordered two meals for both of them. The girl was stunned and suddenly aware about her surroundings. She told Veena meekly “Please give me Rs.10, I will eat at the roadside shop.” Veena nodded and asked her to sit down. Just then a hot meal arrived and Veena didn’t miss the way the girl hungrily looked at the food.

From that day Veena was a changed woman, she carried small biscuit packets with her and gave it to the street urchins around her office. The children knew her as the ‘Biscuit Aunty’ and others as a xenial woman.

 

Wonderful

 

I was tired but eager. The whole process had been draining both physically and emotionally to say the least and once, I was awash with a wonderful sense of anticipation. Just after the delivery while you were being cleaned, checked and fed, I hardly had a chance to take a glimpse of you. I was so drained that my eyes were shutting down. Even when the nurse held you to my bosom for being fed I could hardly touch you. I was that exhausted and didn’t trust my hands to hold a tiny baby.

I was moved to the ward post-midnight after a 6 hour labor and delivery. As the nurse came in with you wrapped up in soft cotton, I was scared. I wasn’t sure if I would get things right. I held you close to my heart and just as there were a million doubts swimming through my head, you yawned and opened your tiny eyes, giving me a reassuring smile that made my heart sing. It was such a wonderful feeling that no words can describe it. Being a mother is a wonderful feeling, a feeling I cherish.

Victimized

A usually vivacious Geet was extremely silent. She was a photographer and the team had come together to discuss the way forward for a new coffee table book for an NGO. Geet had gone to Vrindavan to shoot the images as per the brief and had just returned from her 15 day stay. Neeraj the creative director had seen the images and the same were being circulated with other members. “These are great images Geet, very moving and tear jerking,” however Geet seemed distracted.

She just looked at him calmly and said ‘No’. Before Neeraj could say anything, Geet said “No, I don’t like the ideas that are being discussed here and NO, I am not really happy with the images. Our Coffee table book is about the Widows of Vrindavan. A much neglected and probably a forgotten part of our society. Showing some more despondent pictures is just adding to the noise. These women have been victimized and there is enough said about that.”

She pressed “I met them and have shot them so I know they don’t like being portrayed like this. The NGO is doing some good work with them. I think showing the transformations that they have undergone while trying to be self-sufficient is something that I find more appealing. I shot these pictures while I was with them and these will definitely tell you a different story,” said Geet while pulling out another manila envelope. It was full of determined, at work, happy and powerful images that showed the grit of these widows. Geet had succesfully managed to change the profile of the widows from helpless victims to confident humans.

Image Credit- DNA

Photo Credit – DNA Newspaper.

Upset over not having your way

Annika was upset. She was always upset when she had to return. She always cried and threw a tantrum in a futile attempt to postpone her return. She was getting her way this time and she was going to put up a great act, Annika thought determined.

She sat in a huff at the end of her tantrum. Her granny smiled and came to her with a besan laddoo. Annika loved her granny’s laddoo’s but today she controlled her urge to lunge towards it hungrily. She had to act visibly upset if she wanted her way. “I don’t want to go back. Back to school, classes and tutions, I hate it there. Mum and Dad are busy. There are always rules and restrictions. I want to stay with you.” She said with tears in her eyes. Her granny kissed her on the forehead and tried explaining things to her.

Just then granny’s phone rang. She answered it and simply said “Meera, Annika has decided that she won’t be returning to you. So I suggest you get her name transferred in the town school and send some more clothes for her.” Annika squealed with joy for getting her way. She hugged her granny tight but before she could say anything her granny said “Annika, now that you are staying here you need to know, we have rules and restrictions here too. Also, there are no malls here and the schools are open on Saturday’s too. You will study for 2 hours daily as I can’t go and drop you at tuitions.” As her granny listed off things to do Annika suddenly realized that it was no different from home. “But granny you don’t make me do all this when I am here for vacations?” Granny simply said “They are called vacations for a reason darling.” Annika realized her mistake “I will go home granny and come back during next vacation,” she said with a mischievous grin spreading on her face.

Tender Love

Sameer reached the bus-stop early, in-time to see her walking towards him. Aparna always waved and smiled at him, but then she did that with everyone on the stop. From a boy whom the bus driver cursed for being late every day to a boy, who reached the bus stop 5 minutes early, Sameer was a transformed boy.

Nowadays, the school didn’t seem so boring nor did talking to girls seem weird. He took extra care of how he looked while going to school and intently watched all the advertisements about male grooming products. He religiously finished all his homework and even did some extra reading to look smart in class. Though they were in the same class, took the same bus and lived in the same society, Sameer wasn’t able to grab her attention. He wanted Aparna to spend more time with him.

As they entered the bus, he stumbled and fell flat. He was embarrassed and crushed.  Who would be friends with a goofy guy? He was gloomy the whole day and refused to look in Aparna’s direction for the fear of disapproval in her eyes, but after school she came and sat next to him in the bus smiling and just like that something tender and pure bloomed.

 

Stressed about future

Stress Free Childhood

Anita was seething with anger,

She called Harsh inside and made him sit in front of her and demanded ‘How did this happen?’ What were you doing? I focus all my attention and energy on you and this is what I get in return? How can you be so casual about all this? Don’t you know your future depends on it?

She volleyed a barrage of such questions to which Harsh, who was all of seven, had no answer. Her voice was a clear indicator of her temper and that itself was enough to scare an already stressed Harsh. He couldn’t really understand much of what his mother was saying, but he felt it was wise to keep quiet. All he understood was that he had done something terrible.

She continued admonishing him for the next half an hour “Next time I want to see an A+ in every subject. How will you be a brilliant engineer if you score less?” He obediently nodded his head. You can go to play now, Anita announced. Harsh felt sad and stressed, but he didn’t know how to react.

Anita had been an intelligent and a capable woman, but sadly her family did not find her intelligence worth nurturing and preferred to marry her off instead. Now this frustrated mother looked for recognition through her son. She wanted him to realize all her unfulfilled ambitions.

Sadly, what she didn’t realize is all he wanted was love and not being saddled with her ambitions.

Reluctant Leader

Image credit Pixabay

She wore a crisp white shirt and a pencil skirt. Her hair had been tied into a tight ponytail. She checked the time. She was ready early. The newspaper on the table caught her attention. The youngest and the most promising CEO of the billion dollar empire will meet with the shareholders today, it read.

She always wanted to make headlines, albeit in a different field. She had always been extremely emotional. She had always been poetic. She would get lost in the literary world and dreamed of being a published author. Her father was a businessman and a very good one at that. She had been good academically and when people enquired if she would be doing her MBA and joining him, her father teased that her mushy heart could never understand the shrewd, calculated world of business.

She was just one application away from fulfilling her dream. But a fateful accident changed everything. Her family was wiped out in the accident and she was saddled with the responsibility of running a business empire, of which she knew very little. It was a responsibility she had to fulfill. Her mushy heart took a backseat and her brain worked around numbers and strategy. She had taken complete charge of the business and quickly rose to be the most successful young businesswoman. The article hailed her as a great leader. She nodded with a sad smile correcting, a reluctant leader.

Quaint Wada

Photo Credit- Sawantwadi MC.org Chitnis Wada

Tara was home. A sprawling dwelling made of stone on a busy city street. This quaint wada had been built around 100 years ago. A small but beautiful garden welcomed you once you entered the gate and at the end of a meandering cobbled path was the main entrance of the place. As she walked in, the city noise magically vanished. It was a special day today and all her family members had descended on this place, but nobody was in a chatty mood. They acknowledged one another, but all were busy having a dialogue with the wada. Even the ever querulous aunt was uncannily quiet.

Four generations, of the family, had lived in this wada together. Tara smiled as memories of the many pranks played by her and her boisterous cousins played back in her head. This wada had been her sanctuary, a place to run away to from the pressures of modern living. The quaint surroundings filled her heart with peace. She had learnt, lived, loved and even wept here in its embrace. She saw everyone was lost in their thoughts. Everyone had many stories that just flowed out from the recesses of their memories.

Now, as is the rule of nature, the old had to make way for the new and the wada was being torn down to make way for modern apartments. Today was a get-together where they all came and bid goodbye to their beloved wada before it became history.

*Disclaimer- The image is just used for representative purpose. The story is not about this wada and is a work of fiction.

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